At least six people, including four children, were injured in an improvised explosive device (IED) blast on Peshawar’s Warsak Road on Tuesday morning, officials said.
Warsak Superintendent of Police Arshad Khan confirmed the number of injuries to Dawn.com. He said the wounded persons had been moved to Peshawar’s Lady Reading Hospital.
Two children are in critical condition, LRH spokesperson Mohammad Asim said, adding that the injured persons brought to the facility were aged between 11 and 23.
Talking to media persons at the blast site earlier, SP Arshad said the incident took place near the Peshawar Public School at around 9:10am.
The official said that an estimated four kilogrammes of explosives, planted in a “cemented block” on the side of the road, were used in the blast. The area has been cordoned off and further investigation is under way, Khan said.
“It would be premature to say who was the target,” the official added. Reuters also quoted Peshawar police chief Mohammad Ashfaq Anwar as saying that there was no indication school children were the target of the attack.
Rescue 1122 spokesperson Bilal Faizi said windows of a nearby building and windshields of two Suzuki vans were shattered due to the intensity of the blast.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack.
Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar strongly condemned the blast. He directed the relevant authorities to provide the best medical facilities to the children injured in the blast and prayed for their speedy recovery.
Kakar also directed law enforcement agencies to complete the investigation process as soon as possible.
Interim Interior Minister Sarfraz Ahmed Bugti strongly condemned the incident, issuing directives for no stone to be left unturned for the treatment of the injured children.
“Children are the future of this country; will protect them under every circumstance,” he said, adding that terrorists prove their cowardice by targeting children.
Bugti vowed to punish the elements involved in the incident.
Earlier, caretaker KP Chief Minister Justice (retd) Arshad Hussain Shah condemned the blast and sought a report on it from the police high-ups.
He prayed for the speedy recovery of the wounded children and directed the hospital management to provide them with the best medical treatment.
Separately, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari condemned the blast and expressed concern for the children injured in the incident. “The federal and provincial government should take strict action against the criminals involved,” he said.
Awami National Party (ANP) provincial president Aimal Wali Khan said terror activities near educational institutions and busy highways were concerning. He noted that today’s blast was the second such incident on Warsak Road in recent months.
“We repeat that KP cannot afford the fire of terrorism anymore,” Wali said, warning that the situation would worsen if the state does not take immediate action.
He demanded that the police should immediately arrest the culprits.
Uptick in terror activities
Today’s blast comes as Pakistan heads towards general elections expected to be held on February 8. However, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Ghulam Ali had said last week that it was difficult to carry out political activities in the province due to the security situation.
“The provincial government and institutions are responsible for sitting together and preparing a strategy for the way forward,” he had said.
Pakistan has witnessed an uptick in terror activities in recent months, especially in KP and Balochistan, after the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan ended its ceasefire with the government in November last year.
Last month, five people were killed and over 20 sustained injuries in a blast targeting police in KP’s Dera Ismail Khan.
According to data released by the Pakistan Institute for Conflict and Security Studies (PICSS), the country experienced 34 per cent increase in anti-state violence last month.
It revealed that KP emerged as the most affected province, documenting 51 attacks, causing 54 fatalities and 81 injuries. Meanwhile, Balochistan recorded nine attacks, resulting in 18 fatalities, including that of 15 security forces personnel and three civilians.